The Diary of a Young Girl, based on the journal kept by Anne Frank while in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, is the most widely read piece of writing concerned with the Jewish experience during the Holocaust, with 25 five million copies sold in the last 40 years. Which might give us pause for thought. While Frank’s diary vividly conjures up the fears and hopes of a people under siege, it obviously does not address what eventually happened to Anne Frank when the worst of her fears came true.
This book does. Carol Ann Lee spends the last half of this, her first book, tracing the events after August 4,1944, when the Gestapo finally found Anne Frank. It is a harrowing tale of the brutality of deportation and concentration camps (Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen), illness brought on by hypothermia and malnutrition, and ultimately death at 15 from typhus. Lee doesn’t shy away from this, the pain of Anne’s father Otto, or from attempting to track those responsible for betraying the Frank family. Drawing on personal memories as well as printed sources, and pursuing its goal with unrelenting passion, Roses from the Earth should be required reading for everyone moved by reading The Diary of a Young Girl.–Alan Stewart